Chop-Mooey: China Lifts Ban on U.S. Beef

Seven years after Chinese immigrant investors financed a beef plant here in Aberdeen, their relatives back home may finally be able to buy some chow from that plant and other beef packers in America:

Funny they don't rebrand in China to "Burger Emperor"...
Funny they don’t rebrand in China to “Burger Emperor”—汉堡皇帝

A deal has been struck between the United States and China that ends a fifteen year ban on American beef in the Chinese market, a move which many expect will prop up the lagging beef industry nationwide.

Congresswoman Kristi Noem released the following statement shortly after it was announced that China will resume US beef imports:

“Around 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside U.S. borders. As the world’s largest beef producer, gaining market access is critical. I welcome the administration’s proposal and am hopeful this renewed access to Chinese consumers will help boost the long-depressed cattle markets that have threatened many South Dakota cattle operations” [Mike Leischner, “China Ends US Beef Ban,” KELO Radio, 2017.06.12].

China is requiring that U.S. producers track where in the U.S. their exported cattle are born and slaughtered. Funny Rep. Noem backs that but let die our own Country-of-Origin labeling rules to informed American consumers where their beef came from.

China is importing lots more beef than it did when it banned U.S. beef in 2003 out of fear of mad-cow disease. However, since Donald Trump has withdrawn us from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we’ll have trouble competing for China’s business with more globally-oriented beef-producing countries like Australia:

The U.S. is not expected to get a major share of the Chinese market soon. That’s because Australia – also a major beef exporting country – has negotiated reduced tariffs in the free trade agreement it has with China. The agreement between the two countries will completely remove by 2024 Chinese tariffs on Australian beef that currently range between 12 percent and 25 percent [Bill Tomson, “USDA Announces Finalization of Deal to Lift Chinese Ban on US Beef,” Agri-Pulse, 2017.06.12].

Last year, the Chinese ate 16.9 billion pounds of beef. Only the United States ate more beef, 25.7 billion pounds, but to out-snarf our Chinese friends, each of us had to eat over 79 pounds of beef in 2016, compared to the Chinese per-capita beef consumption of 12.2 pounds. Our beef consumption was up last year amidst a four-decade decline. American beef producers can only hope the Chinese will catch up with the Hong Kong friends, who ate over 114 pounds of beef per person last year.

22 Responses to Chop-Mooey: China Lifts Ban on U.S. Beef

  1. Don Coyote

    @cah: “However, since Donald Trump has withdrawn us from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we’ll have trouble competing for China’s business with more globally-oriented beef-producing countries like Australia”

    FWIW, Australian beef exports to China and the imposed tariffs are covered by the trade agreement ChAFTA negotiated in 2014 not the TPP.

    Also consider that the Aussies don’t have enough inventory to service the entire Chinese market:

    “While Australian beef continues to struggle for competitiveness in international markets due to high cattle prices, shortage of slaughter stock and cost-to-operate in the processing sector, some relief is being experienced in the latest round of tariff adjustments in key export customer countries.”

  2. As this drought heightens, I hope that South Dakota cattle producers get some kind of break for their efforts. I am thinking that will not happen as the market now will be pretty well saturated with a glut of product. Also, there is this The article is several months old, but the problem of bypassing bans, is age old.

    Cory makes note of the COOL and how NOem now embraces it for the China market but not so cool with the American market even though 95% of the beef consumed is not within our borders, interesting. Who is getting the payoffs one wonders?

  3. John Tsitrian

    Somewhat overlooked is the part of the deal that brings more Chinese chicken products into the American market. Don’t know what the trade in meat tonnage will be, but the departure of American beef will be somewhat offset by the increase in poultry, which means that if American consumers are affected by higher beef prices in this deal, they can substitute by buying poultry, which could cheapen up with the fresh supply of Chinese chicken. In broad market terms, this is a trade of meat for meat. Cattle prices have regained some of their losses in recent months, possibly anticipating this deal, but they’re still a long way off their highs of a few years ago.

  4. Cooked chicken will be bought in, you talk about fast delivery, those Chinese take out places can get those chickens delivered here to South Dakota still hot. It also seems that the packers of the beef also have a lot of say in the chicken production. I am so surprised by this that I cannot believe that there may have been some kind of collusion between all of them to make this deal of the century happen.

  5. Don Coyote

    Context, context, context. COOL needed to be repealed because the World Trade Organization had ruled against the US in a case brought by Canada and Mexico and allowed them to impose retaliatory tariffs on the US to the tune of $1.1B.

    “Congress has only a few days to avert painful sanctions on more than $1 billion worth of U.S. goods in retaliation for the Agriculture Department’s contentious meat labeling regulations.

    The World Trade Organization on Monday authorized Canada and Mexico to tax a wide variety of U.S. exports to cover costs they have incurred over years of implementing the country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rule.”

  6. Donald Pay

    My daughter lives in Beijing and works on ag tech issues. . She says she’ll believe it when she eats it.

  7. Regarding COOL, if it were just Mexico and Canada that would be cool as they both produce high quality beef. The issue that could be solved with COOL would be the dumping of Brazilian beef, Australian beef and so on, as well as American dairy beef.

  8. Porter Lansing

    粉红肉渣 for sale.

  9. Daniel Buresh

    I only use pink slime when making butter burgers. The paste like consistency allows for a super thin patty that gets extra crispy edges. Fresher, lean ground beef will just break apart when you press your patties paper thin. I would guess Culver’s already learned this before I did.

  10. Porter Lansing

    I’ll note that in my techniques file, DB. I’ll label them “Buresh’ Butter Burgers”.

  11. Don Coyote

    @jerry: “Regarding COOL, if it were just Mexico and Canada that would be cool as they both produce high quality beef.”

    Really? COOL took direct aim at meat imports from Canada, beef as well as pork, and the lead sponsor was none other than our dear Senator Tim “Backbencher” Johnson.

    “This legislation says no Canadian cattle until COOL is implemented. COOL lets consumers make an informed choice about the origin of their meat. With two Canadian cases of Mad Cow in as many weeks, any other course is reckless. I won’t stand by and watch while USDA opens the floodgates to Canadian cattle, threatening consumer confidence and our export markets.” – 01/24/05

    As for Mexican beef, fuggedaboutit. Some of the worst beef I’ve ever had was at a Cancun resort steak feed. And this was suppose to be their good stuff. Woof.

  12. Porter Lansing

    No kidding, Don C. Every cook from Mexico I worked with would cook steaks the way they were told for guests but when they’d cook “family meal” (the free meal only the kitchen staff gets before the guests arrive … servers, bussers and bartenders make enough to afford their own food) they’d cut the beef really thin and cook it really, really well done. Usually the American cooks would just work while the New Americans would eat their beef tacos because it was just too “over” for us to enjoy. We surmised it was because in Mexico the beef is sold in open air markets, often with flies and gnats on it or around it and cooking it well done was a matter of food safety. One time in Baja, a bunch of us rented quad runners and toured the back country through the dried river channels. One look at the emaciated cattle grazing on thinly grassed pastures made us all resolve to eat the fish and shellfish, which is world class.

  13. I suppose you fellers would not be up to eating 15 to 20 year old oxen then. Meat is all about how you age it and how you cook it. This place here has some of the best in the world and the place is not in a big city either.

    Mexican beef is not much different than American beef as it comes of grass to corn before kill. Again, if you go to a place that knows beef and hot to age and prepare, you cannot go wrong. Same in Canada.

    No listings in Mexico. Canada has one, south of the border a couple

    The resorts in South Dakota are kind of crappy for good beef eating for sure. Bob’s Steakhouse though, man that has some good chow, say boy howdy to that big ol sirloin and get after it.

    trump has more in common with the Mexicans than you know Porter, cooking a steak super well done and then grabbing the…the ketchup of course. Who knew?

  14. As if by magic What could go wrong with cooked chicken from China? Where do you recall that? These guys here are supposed to be on top so that this does not happen right here in the good ol US of A.

  15. Porter Lansing

    Rethinking what I asserted about Mexican beef and I’m sure there’re places where they raise beef every bit as good as USA. Mexico has places that are excellent farm land with ultra modern machines and technology.
    Bob’s on the River in Gettysburg?Sometimes I go through there.
    That’s quite a story about the ox meat. I’ve cooked everything from cat to kangaroo but not ox, yet. Only because it’s not prevalent. The only ox I see for sale in CO are teams of draft oxen. I know several ways I’d cook it and it would be good, what with the way that Mexican babies ’em.
    You’ve got better choppers than me if you can still eat a sirloin. I’m best with a filet, New York or ribeye.
    Man, the Mexican cooks do cook the flavor right out of a steak if they’re gonna eat it themselves. They look at medium rare and would never consider eating that. The nickname for a cook that cooks everything over done is a shoemaker. Chews like leather.

  16. Yep, Bob’s on the river. This is the new place, the old place was a long line of picnic tables that you were seated. When you finished, you moved on and some one else took the spot. You did not know if you were gonna be seated next to the governor or some cowboy and his gal. Fun times. That sirloin is tender and damn good Porter they age it there and know how to prepare it. Next time you are through, make a stop.

    If you want to give oxen a good try, here is the place to do exactly that. Food cost is reasonable and the quality is exceptional. 3 hours north of Madrid, go see the Prado for a couple of days, enjoy the city and then go get yourself a world class steak.

    Mexican beef is pretty darn tasty and it is available right here in the states. You know the first cowboys in the United States came from Mexico. They taught there trade to the now common cattle producers we see right here in South Dakota. Everything about the way the local fellers do cowboying originally came from the Mexican vaquero (cowboy).

    American beef is just like the rest, only as good as you take care of it and cook it. The hard grass of the west river makes for some fantastic protein in the meat for sure, but if you do not know how to finish, age and prepare it, you could very well be disappointed.

    So how much of this South Dakota beef will go to China?

  17. Pink slime makes that extra crispy edge? Mmmm… that’s just how I like my burgers!

    Jerry, I look forward to hearing any data that Demkota Beef, BPI, and South Dakota ranchers can provide us on their success in breaking into the newly reopened Chinese market.

  18. Mr. H, you really need to stop eating shoe leather and have a little blood in your meat.

  19. Red in my meat? That’s why Heinz makes ketchup… which, interestingly, both condiment and word, comes from China, where it originally was a sauce derived from fermented fish.

  20. Porter Lansing

    If the market changed and all the workers who practice Islam in Aberdeen moved to Colorado for better conditions and all their jobs became filled with New Americans from China would the hate groups continue their money solicitation meetings? (My own answer would be, “They’d continue to sell hate for money if people kept giving them money to listen to hate.) So, would the hate group people of Aberdeen hate Asian people who came to work meat packing jobs like they hate Muslim people?

  21. I was thinking that the EB5 plant in Aberdeen should become very busy now as the investors from China will be demanding product from Joop and Rounds as promised. Did those boys get some kind of bonus for kicking up production in Aberdeen? When will the state get back its investment now?

  22. Well, I’m currently laid up from an intestinal thing. I think from eating Mexican!
    Just wanted to comment that I can’t believe that anyone wouldn’t be incensed over this country not being able to implement COOL. My god people….the staff of life and we are not supposed to know where it is coming from! When we crawled down out of the trees in Africa we at least knew where or food was coming from. And to think we let the WTO dictate this!! And TPP which I’m sure is no better is the way we are supposed to be going now!
    I’ve been farming all my life and haven’t been able to miss the direction we are heading. We no longer can produce a chicken, an egg, or a pork chop without being a slave to some vertical integrator. The condition of the chicken broiler industry has been well documented. The producers are little more that debt slaves to these multinationals but that is supposed to be the direction we should take beef and the rest of agriculture?? And now we run farm programs designed to force us to produce feed grains for these multinationals at as close to break even as possible.
    Why don’t we just stop fooling our selves and give all the wealth in the country to a couple of people. That is where we are headed anyway. Of course trading our expensive beef to the Chinese who are raising their standard of living while taking cheap chicken in trade for us who are lowering our standard of living only seems appropriate!